Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag has last laugh after ‘private battle’ with club chiefs

Assessing Man Utd's start to the Premier League season | Football Digest

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag could be forgiven for feeling smug over the signing of Sergio Reguilon, in a move which wasn’t unanimously supported by senior figures at Old Trafford. The Red Devils are set to call on the Spaniard over the coming weeks, with Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s injury leaving Ten Hag short of options at full-back.

Reguilon started against Brighton to bank his first minutes in the famous red shirt on Saturday, although it wasn’t a debut to remember as the Seagulls ran out convincing 3-1 winners at Old Trafford.

The Tottenham loanee was brought in on deadline day to provide cover for the injured Luke Shaw and Tyrell Malacia. According to The Athletic, some United chiefs wanted to promote from within to address the shortage, with youngster Alvaro Fernandez impressing on loan at Preston North End last season.

But Ten Hag was intent on signing a player with Premier League experience. And looking at the situation United currently find themselves in, the Dutchman will surely be relieved that he put his foot down.

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United have confirmed that Wan-Bissaka will spend ‘several weeks’ on the sidelines after suffering a hamstring injury against Brighton. That leaves Diogo Dalot and Reguilon as Ten Hag’s only two senior full-back options.

Dalot had deputised on the left-hand side of defence during the first few matches of the season, with Wan-Bissaka on the right. The recent injury news means that Dalot is virtually certain to nail down the right-back spot over the coming weeks, with Reguilon taking up his favoured left-sided position.

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Ten Hag will need all of the duo’s big-game experience to get United through a challenging period. Defeat against Brighton meant that the Red Devils lost three of their first five league games for the first time in the Premier League era.

All three points against Burnley at the weekend will therefore be deemed essential to avoid United’s confidence sinking even lower. Ten Hag has a blockbuster Champions League showdown with Bayern Munich to contend with in the meantime.

The German giants have not lost any of their last 34 Champions League group stage matches – the longest run in the competition’s history. Ten Hag will therefore need all hands on deck to avoid leaving the Allianz Arena empty-handed.

Reguilon spent 15 years on the books at Real Madrid, coming through their esteemed academy before making a handful of appearances for the first team. The left-back’s stint at Tottenham started positively in 2020, although he was deemed expendable by manager Ange Postecoglou this summer.

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